Top Customer Support via Phone Service

“Good customer service and smiling service should occur the minute people walk into the door. People get tired of calling and having to get transferred, they need a live person to answer the phone.” – Matt Hilton

In the current technological ‘age’, customers can seek support from companies through various channels – live chat, online forums, social media, website comments, and others. However, it would be wrong for companies to assume that customer support via phone service is no longer relevant. Phone support is valuable as customers receive individual attention by a live person representing the company – the human touch all customers crave. If customers were making the effort to call, it would mean that they need support immediately, and are not interested in wading through a sea of options via the IVR or interacting with scripted and robotic chats. A live knowledgeable and empathetic person is with whom they need to speak, and a company that can provide such top class customer support via phone service would be able to build stronger and more robust customer relationships.

As mentioned, if customers are calling – for whatever reason, they expect to reach the company instantly and would want to interact with a person who would be able to hear what they have to say, show empathy, and provide assurance that their suggestion / complaint / query would be looked into and action would be taken immediately. Companies must ensure that their phone systems are equipped with the latest technology such that they are able to reduce wait times, and revert to unanswered calls from customers as speedily as possible. For companies, unhappy customers can prove to be disastrous. However, top class customer support via phone service puts a company in a better position of appeasing the customer, and turning the situation in its favour. Dissatisfied customers need to know that they are being heard, and are more likely to calm down if they are able to speak to a live representative of the company. Only a live person can provide a soft, warm, and empathetic response to aggrieved customers, making it easier to re-build and sustain the relationship. A friendly soothing voice adds the human touch to a business, reminding customers that the company is run by people like themselves. This is an extremely reassuring and satisfying feeling.

While everyone is moving towards faster and digital methods, customer support via phone service is possibly never going to fade away. Customers usually prefer to get as much information online via the company’s website, internet, and social media sites. However, if they call, it is possibly because they would not have received a satisfactory answer to their particular queries from any of the online sources, and it is the responsibility of a company to ensure that customers get what they want. IVR systems are only equipped to provide the pre-recorded information – standard frequently asked questions such as office hours, contact information, and others. It is only a real person representing the company who can respond to a particular question / query from a customer, and a satisfactory response can enhance satisfaction levels significantly.

Another part of top quality customer support via phone service is listening patiently, getting feedback, and recording the customer’s words in order to improve the service and offerings of the company. Since face-to-face interactions are not always possible, phone interactions are the next best one-on-one personal interface a company would have with its customers. It affords the opportunity to understand the customer’s current and future needs directly from the customer, and the feedback they provide would be helpful to improve and do away with regularly occurring problems.

When offering customer support via phone service, however, a company must remember that customers are unable to see the facial expressions and other body language of the representatives – all extremely vital to top class interpersonal communication. In order to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding, service representatives must be suitably trained and coached about providing customer support via phone service. It is imperative for service representatives to maintain an appropriate tone and pitch of voice, and remain conscious not to sound bored, robotic, sarcastic, unfeeling, and feigning interest. Such ‘expressions’ are certain to make even the calmest customer angry – not to mention the ones who may already be irate or dissatisfied.

When offering customer support via phone service, a company must ensure that the phone lines and representatives managing those phone lines are sufficient in number. This will ensure that calls are answered instantly, and the customer is greeted at the beginning of the call. It is extremely frustrating for customers to have their calls unanswered or when they are ‘put on hold’ because one representative would have, a number of calls lined up and would be trying to attend to each of them simultaneously. In addition, simply answering the calls does not suffice. In order to provide top class customer support via phone service, the representatives must provide undivided attention to whatever the customer would be saying. To show that the customer did receive due attention, the phone support representatives repeat their understanding of what the customer said, back to the customer. A customer would be assured that whatever they said would be taken into consideration.

Phone support representatives must remember to apologize to the customers making a complaint. This shows customers that the company is taking responsibility and would do something to alleviate their pain / discomfort. In addition, customer support via phone service is about showing unfeigned interest in the customer and the problem. Service representatives must be adept at demonstrating care and involvement in the problems of the customers, which would serve to show that customers that the company is committed to their needs and would like to reach a positive outcome each time. As mentioned, customers usually call in when they would have had a negative experience to report. Such customers would be frustrated and it would be natural to expect outbursts and anger from them. When offering customer support via phone service, it is imperative that service representatives keep their cool and refrain from raising their voice or telling customers that they are wrong. Interrupting irate customers in the middle of their barrage is also a complete no-no. It must be understood that customers would be frustrated for a reason, and they have nothing personal against the person on the phone – remember they do not know who it is they are speaking with. Customer anger must be treated as what it actually is – feedback, and not a personal attack on anyone.

One of the often ignored aspects of offering customer support via phone service is putting customers on hold for long, without asking for their permission or staying away too long. Both these behaviours leaves customers infuriated since they would not know whether they were still in a call, or they have been cut off, or whether the service representative may have forgotten about them. Restricting periods of silence, and long hold times is essential to top class customer support via phone service.

When customers call, a company can be sure it is for a reason – and most likely because the company would have given them reason to make such effort. Customer calls are feedback and must be treated as such. They are opportunities afforded by the customers to make improvements in the offerings and service provided by the company, which in turn would benefit the company both, in the short and long-terms. Being able to convert these opportunities to success is not that hard. A company just needs to remain customer-focused and open-minded when providing customer support via phone service, ensuring that customers can perceive commitment and dedication for them and their needs.

 

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